For New Students

How To Apply For Your Student Visa

MEI students who live outside the U.S. need an F-1 student visa. To apply:

At the visa interview, bring:

  • the I-20 form and acceptance letter from MEI
  • completed visa application from DS-156 and DS-158 (available at the embassy)
  • one 2” x 2” photograph in correct format of each person applying for a visa
  • a passport good for at least 6 months longer than your planned stay in the U.S.
  • a receipt showing you have paid the visa application fee for each person applying
  • a receipt showing you have paid the SEVIS fee
  • records showing enough money to pay tuition and living expenses during your visit
  • transcripts and diplomas from previous schools you have attended

At the visa interview, be prepared:

  • to show you plan to return to your home country after finishing your U.S. studies
  • to explain your reasons for wanting to study in the U.S.

For more information, see these frequently asked questions.

Arriving in the U.S.

Plan to arrive at one of these airports:

  • Baltimore-Washington International Airport (Airport Code: BWI)
  • Washington Dulles International Airport (Airport Code: IAD)
  • Washington National Airport (Airport Code: DCA)

After your airplane lands in the U.S.:

  • You will show your F-1 visa, I-20 form, and your passport to an immigration officer.
  • The officer may ask you about your plans. You must be planning to study in the U.S..
  • The officer will write “F-1 D/S” on your I-20 and give the I-20 back to you.
  • The officer will attach a small white card (the I-94) to your passport.
  • The officer will scan your fingerprints and take your photograph.
  • The officer will tell you when he or she is finished.
  • Always keep your I-20 and I-94 card with your passport.

Arriving at the Maryland English Institute

MEI is in Cole Student Activities Building, shown on the map below:

Where we are

  • Enter the university at the Campus Drive entrance on Route 1 (Baltimore Ave.)
  • Go straight across the “M” traffic circle, taking the 2nd right to stay on Campus Drive
  • Cole Student Activities Building will be on your right
  • MEI is located on the ground floor, Room 1117

Placement Testing

Before you start classes, you’ll go through placement testing. This is done to place you in the right level of English. Here is what you will do:

  • Have a short interview with two instructors, to check your listening and speaking.
  • Take a computer-based grammar test.
  • Take a computer-based reading test.
  • Write a 30-minute timed essay.

These tests allow us to place you in classes that will help you most.

Document Check

At the beginning of the semester, the University of Maryland’s International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) will check your documents to make sure all immigration rules are followed.

For this document check session, please bring the following:

Your original:

  • Passport
  • Visa (F-1, F-2 or J-1, J-2)
  • Form I-20 if you have an F-1 or F-2 visa
  • Form DS-2019 if you have a J-1 or J-2 visa
  • I-94

Clear photocopies of:

  • Passport identification page with your photo and passport expiration date
  • Visa
  • White I-94 Departure card with a clear image of the INS stamp
  • I-20, page 3, with a clear image of the red INS stamp (in the upper right-hand corner)


  • Letter of admission from MEI or the University of Maryland
  • Local address and telephone number of a friend or relative in the U.S.

Your First Day at the Maryland English Institute

New students attend a meeting to welcome them to the university. At this meeting you will get important information about MEI.

During orientation, you will:

  • Meet your instructors
  • Meet your fellow students
  • See the schedule of activities for the semester
  • Get information about programs on campus
  • Get a short tour of important places on campus
  • Be taken to the university’s cashier office to pay your tuition (non-sponsored students only)

Health Insurance

As a student at MEI, you must have health insurance and proof of that insurance.  If you do not already have health insurance for the U.S., you can apply for it during the Health Insurance Enrollment Session at the start of the semester.